2015 February California Bar Exam


CA-Hoosier
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby CA-Hoosier » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:31 am

So I got my scores today and I'm a bit irritated.

My exam was subject to two reads because I came close to passing on the first read.

Using the scores given to me by the second readers, I PASSED! (1446 points). Unfortunately, the scores given to me by the 2nd readers must be averaged with the scores given to me by the first readers, so my total scaled score was 1432.5 (did NOT pass).

Here's my first issue: If my exam had gone to the second group of graders in the first place, I would have passed the bar and that would be the end of it. So I get screwed over because I got my graders in the wrong order. Nice.

Second issue: If there is a discrepancy of "more than" 10 points between the first and second readers, it goes to a third reader who issues a "resolution grade" which is not necessarily an average between the two. The first reader gave me a 60 on Performance Test B. The second (and very sensible IMO) reader gave me a 70. Because it was "exactly" 10 points, and not "more than" 10 points, I do not get the benefit of a resolution grade. Of course, this would be the difference between passing and failing as well.

To come this close and fall flat is maddening. I'd rather have missed the mark by a mile and at least know specifically what I need to work on. The letter was very clear as to what could be appealed, and this does not seem to fit. Nor is the letter clear as to how a request for reconsideration would even work (no website or procedure described).

What can I do? Just shut up and get to work on Feb?

CA-Hoosier
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby CA-Hoosier » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:39 am

Also, can I retake the CA Bar but use my old MBE score and skip the MBE day?

lmr
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby lmr » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:45 am

CA-Hoosier wrote:So I got my scores today and I'm a bit irritated.

My exam was subject to two reads because I came close to passing on the first read.

Using the scores given to me by the second readers, I PASSED! (1446 points). Unfortunately, the scores given to me by the 2nd readers must be averaged with the scores given to me by the first readers, so my total scaled score was 1432.5 (did NOT pass).

Here's my first issue: If my exam had gone to the second group of graders in the first place, I would have passed the bar and that would be the end of it. So I get screwed over because I got my graders in the wrong order. Nice.

Second issue: If there is a discrepancy of "more than" 10 points between the first and second readers, it goes to a third reader who issues a "resolution grade" which is not necessarily an average between the two. The first reader gave me a 60 on Performance Test B. The second (and very sensible IMO) reader gave me a 70. Because it was "exactly" 10 points, and not "more than" 10 points, I do not get the benefit of a resolution grade. Of course, this would be the difference between passing and failing as well.

To come this close and fall flat is maddening. I'd rather have missed the mark by a mile and at least know specifically what I need to work on. The letter was very clear as to what could be appealed, and this does not seem to fit. Nor is the letter clear as to how a request for reconsideration would even work (no website or procedure described).

What can I do? Just shut up and get to work on Feb?


60 or a 70 aren't really high enough for the PTs. i never understand why people ignore PTs. I get that it's frustrating that you came really close but i disagree w your statement that you don't know what to work on. PT score was too low. I'm guessing PTA was also less than a 75? MBEs + PTS are such a cushion- you can BS the 6 essays and still pass w a decent MBE and PT-both are very learnable.

CA-Hoosier
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby CA-Hoosier » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:12 am

lmr wrote:
60 or a 70 aren't really high enough for the PTs. i never understand why people ignore PTs. I get that it's frustrating that you came really close but i disagree w your statement that you don't know what to work on. PT score was too low. I'm guessing PTA was also less than a 75? MBEs + PTS are such a cushion- you can BS the 6 essays and still pass w a decent MBE and PT-both are very learnable.



Thanks for the feedback. I'll say this: If I had gotten 65 and 70 on the PTs, instead of the operant grade of 65 and 65, I'd have passed. I don't think the solution is to leave everything else the same and shoot for an 80 on a PT. I'll be working on a bit of everything. I guess what I want feedback on more than anything are the issues I highlighted: 1) If the 2nd readers graded me first, I'd have passed and 2) exactly 10 points isn't enough to warrant a resolution grade.

I don't get it. Why bother with the 2nd read if you're going to average it? The 2nd reading would have to be so drastically different than the first in order to make a difference. Isn't it enough that the 2nd round of readers thought I passed the bar? I'm just frustrated.

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a male human
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:19 am

I, for one, think if they're going to regrade people scoring 1390-1440, they should also regrade people scoring 1440-1490.

If you luck out with a more lenient grader and get over 1440 on the first read, you should be subject to the same doubt caused by the margin of error on the other side.

Or have EVERYONE's essays graded by two graders to make it less arbitrary?

CA-Hoosier
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby CA-Hoosier » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:41 am

Ha! No hard feelings towards anyone who passed with a 1441. You make a good point, though.

As an aside, I've just joined your mailing list. Looking forward to your contributions in this thread.

s1m4
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby s1m4 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:46 am

What has everyone done so far in terms of preparing? Whats everyone's plan?

So far done 50 adaptibar qs and re-enrolled in barbri.

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reasonable troll
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby reasonable troll » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:51 am

CA-Hoosier wrote:Here's my first issue: If my exam had gone to the second group of graders in the first place, I would have passed the bar and that would be the end of it. So I get screwed over because I got my graders in the wrong order. Nice.


Def super frustrating. I haven't gotten my scores yet, and I also haven't decided whether it will hurt more to have missed by an inch or by a mile. I guess the best thing would be to have decent scores on 2/3 sections and be able to identify the fatal flaw in a single low-scoring section, but since a fail is still a fail, maybe it's all a wash.

In other news, Monday was the most excruciating day at work I have ever experienced, but I did not get the axe and nobody said to my face that I must be an idiot, so overall a win?

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reasonable troll
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby reasonable troll » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:55 am

s1m4 wrote:What has everyone done so far in terms of preparing? Whats everyone's plan?

So far done 50 adaptibar qs and re-enrolled in barbri.



Not doing anything until I get the letter. Once that arrives, re-registering for Feb (got to do it before Dec. 8 ) and re-enrolling in BarBri. If I fucked up on the MBE then I'll prob look into Adaptibar, but if it was the essays then I think I'll stick with BarBri and just really hammer on submitting essays to them for grading.

1234567888
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby 1234567888 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:50 pm

CA-Hoosier wrote:So I got my scores today and I'm a bit irritated.

My exam was subject to two reads because I came close to passing on the first read.

Using the scores given to me by the second readers, I PASSED! (1446 points). Unfortunately, the scores given to me by the 2nd readers must be averaged with the scores given to me by the first readers, so my total scaled score was 1432.5 (did NOT pass).

Here's my first issue: If my exam had gone to the second group of graders in the first place, I would have passed the bar and that would be the end of it. So I get screwed over because I got my graders in the wrong order. Nice.

Second issue: If there is a discrepancy of "more than" 10 points between the first and second readers, it goes to a third reader who issues a "resolution grade" which is not necessarily an average between the two. The first reader gave me a 60 on Performance Test B. The second (and very sensible IMO) reader gave me a 70. Because it was "exactly" 10 points, and not "more than" 10 points, I do not get the benefit of a resolution grade. Of course, this would be the difference between passing and failing as well.

To come this close and fall flat is maddening. I'd rather have missed the mark by a mile and at least know specifically what I need to work on. The letter was very clear as to what could be appealed, and this does not seem to fit. Nor is the letter clear as to how a request for reconsideration would even work (no website or procedure described).

What can I do? Just shut up and get to work on Feb?




Ha, join the club. This happened to me but in another state. Don't understand the purpose of averaging the scores.

Carryon
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby Carryon » Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:43 am

Here is a link to the model answers for this exam.

http://www.dailyjournal.com/public/Pubm ... vId%3Dtab3

Carryon
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby Carryon » Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:52 am

lmr wrote:
a_ela1 wrote:Does anyone know of a good resource for essay approaches? Preferably ones that give you the basic rule statements for memorization? I already know that's my weakest area so I want to get a jump on it now. Last time I did Kaplan and I hated having to take notes from their 30 minute essay lectures, while their professors rattled off issues to look for, rather than just having it spelled out on paper for me.


the bar code cheat sheets by whitney roberts


Anybody know any good tutors or essay grading price deals?

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Princess Belle
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby Princess Belle » Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:39 am

:|
Last edited by Princess Belle on Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Carryon
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby Carryon » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:51 pm

PennJD83 wrote:Does anyone have experience with CA bar tutors? I am currently leaning towards hiring John Crossfield because he is a former bar grader and his services are reasonably priced. Has anyone used John and had a good experience? Can anyone comment on their experience with other tutors? Thanks!


What are his prices?

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a male human
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:56 pm

NazGuides wrote:Studying for the California Bar Exam?! Let NazGuides help you! NazGuides is individual outlines of each subject on the California Bar Exam. NazGuides condenses thousands of pages of law into a 15 to 30 page outline that focuses on the core principles of each subject. Outlines range from $20-$35, depending on the subject. Outline samples are also available. Check out http://www.NazGuides.com today for more information!

NazGuides was originally created by a first time California bar passer while she was studying for the bar exam. Although the creator of NazGuides passed the CA Bar Exam the first time she took it, unfortunately, her sister did not. On her sister's second attempt, she successfully passed after spending 3-4 weeks studying only NazGuides for about 5-8 hours per day. Check out http://www.NazGuides.com today!

[Post space reserved for future ad hominems]

Carryon
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby Carryon » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:28 pm

1234567888 wrote:
CA-Hoosier wrote:So I got my scores today and I'm a bit irritated.

My exam was subject to two reads because I came close to passing on the first read.

Using the scores given to me by the second readers, I PASSED! (1446 points). Unfortunately, the scores given to me by the 2nd readers must be averaged with the scores given to me by the first readers, so my total scaled score was 1432.5 (did NOT pass).

Here's my first issue: If my exam had gone to the second group of graders in the first place, I would have passed the bar and that would be the end of it. So I get screwed over because I got my graders in the wrong order. Nice.

Second issue: If there is a discrepancy of "more than" 10 points between the first and second readers, it goes to a third reader who issues a "resolution grade" which is not necessarily an average between the two. The first reader gave me a 60 on Performance Test B. The second (and very sensible IMO) reader gave me a 70. Because it was "exactly" 10 points, and not "more than" 10 points, I do not get the benefit of a resolution grade. Of course, this would be the difference between passing and failing as well.

To come this close and fall flat is maddening. I'd rather have missed the mark by a mile and at least know specifically what I need to work on. The letter was very clear as to what could be appealed, and this does not seem to fit. Nor is the letter clear as to how a request for reconsideration would even work (no website or procedure described).

What can I do? Just shut up and get to work on Feb?




Ha, join the club. This happened to me but in another state. Don't understand the purpose of averaging the scores.


It may work against you too. For example, I talking to a examinee, who failed because the difference between the grades from the second grader and first grader was 15 points, but the supervisor gave him a score less than the average of the grades from the first and second grader, which caused him to fail. If the average was given, he would have passed.

james11
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby james11 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:02 pm

I passed last Feb and it was my second time. I want to chime in to those who did not pass this July not to give up. Whatever is holding you back, you can correct it. The first few days after I found out that I failed I wanted to crawl into a hole. Then I picked myself up and figured out what I needed to work on and fixed it. The bar does not test what type of lawyer you will be or what type of person you are. It tests your ability to pass the bar, nothing else. I'm posting below my post from last May after I found out I passed and talking about what I did, hopefully it will help you.

-----

I passed. It was my second time. The nightmare is over for me. I've avoided my friends/family for months. I had thoughts of quitting or moving out of state after the first time, but I gritted my teeth and gave it another go. For those of you who were not successful, I encourage you to keep at it. Eventually you will pass.

The first time I did well on the MBE but failed every single essay. My essay scores were 55, 55, 55, 60, 62.5, 55.

I hired a tutor and also heavily used BarEssays.com at the advice of Murph and several other posters on this board.

My daily schedule was as follows: wake up, 20 MBEs (I had mbe material from kaplan, barbri, and strategies+tactics), review subject, lunch, practice essay, spend some time and compare my essay to the examples on baressays.com, 20 more MBEs and/or more review and/or speak with tutor.

Through this process I realized that I failed every essay the first time for three reasons- 1) my formatting was all wrong. I did not have a good grasp on irac and my review course did not teach this to me; 2) I did not memorize the rule statements enough; 3) I did not hit enough subissues.

The final couple weeks before the bar exam I made flashcards with all the rule statements and memorized like crazy.

I can tell you that failing the bar was worst academic experience of my life but I learned a lot about self discipline and getting through a major set back.

Good luck to all.

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tearsforbeers
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby tearsforbeers » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:56 am

CA-Hoosier wrote:So I got my scores today and I'm a bit irritated.

My exam was subject to two reads because I came close to passing on the first read.

Using the scores given to me by the second readers, I PASSED! (1446 points). Unfortunately, the scores given to me by the 2nd readers must be averaged with the scores given to me by the first readers, so my total scaled score was 1432.5 (did NOT pass).

Here's my first issue: If my exam had gone to the second group of graders in the first place, I would have passed the bar and that would be the end of it. So I get screwed over because I got my graders in the wrong order. Nice.

Second issue: If there is a discrepancy of "more than" 10 points between the first and second readers, it goes to a third reader who issues a "resolution grade" which is not necessarily an average between the two. The first reader gave me a 60 on Performance Test B. The second (and very sensible IMO) reader gave me a 70. Because it was "exactly" 10 points, and not "more than" 10 points, I do not get the benefit of a resolution grade. Of course, this would be the difference between passing and failing as well.

To come this close and fall flat is maddening. I'd rather have missed the mark by a mile and at least know specifically what I need to work on. The letter was very clear as to what could be appealed, and this does not seem to fit. Nor is the letter clear as to how a request for reconsideration would even work (no website or procedure described).

What can I do? Just shut up and get to work on Feb?


I got a 1432.5 scaled total as well.. I decided to get to work but I still get flashes of severe indignation.

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MURPH
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby MURPH » Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:43 am

I see my friends A Male Human and 2807 posted here. I feel I owe them a lot. Without them I would not have passed the Feb 2014 Cal Bar. We went through this terrible time last year. I am going to copy and paste my collection of advice that I compiled after I passed in February 2014. It is based on the advice I got after failing in July 2013. I gave it to a friend and that person appreciated it so I will post it again. It is long because it is a compilation of all the advice I got from others that worked for me. Some people need different advice because they made different mistakes than I made. So what worked for me follows (some references are to the Feb 2014 retake board):

A couple of people pm’ed me this week to ask what I did differently or what I suggest that they do. I thought I would post an edited version of my responses here. But this is basically an edited version of some of my posts on this thread. The discussions we had here are best and the advice of others is as good as mine. Not everyone learns the same way so this will only work for me. When Amazon asked me to review a pair of pants that I bought online I wrote: I love these jeans – if your body is exactly like mine and you like wearing the same kind of clothes I like, then you will like these jeans too!.

Part 1. What I did wrong in the July 2013 fail.
I wrote essays trying to get to as many issues and analysis as I could imagine and cramming them into my answer. When I was done I compared them to the Baressays.com and Cal bar examples by basically counting the issues and seeing which ones I missed. If I missed an issue then I would go back and try to figure out a way to recognize that issue next time I saw it. Maybe I’d study that part of the outline or take comfort in the fact that some of the other essays missed that issue too. I also spent a lot of time trying to come up with ‘both sides of the argument’ counter arguments and intelligent ways of looking at the essay (especially the PTS). This seemed helpful but I was ignoring my style. There is a lot of discussion here and elsewhere about how graders spend 2 minutes on each essay or grade at stoplights or whatever. Style is important. I kind of had a vague idea that the graders count issues and want to see an intelligent discussion. It turns out that they want an essay that is super easy to grade. Intelligent discussions are a pain in the ass to grade and attempts to write an intelligent discussion of an issue in a short time end up being pretty unintelligent, rambling and hard to follow.

I also stopped doing MBEs in mid summer because I was behind on studying for the other subjects and I was doing very well on the MBEs. Big mistake. I also used too many Baribri or similar questions that are copyrighted and supposed to be harder than the real thing so that you find the real questions easier. That is bullshit. They were just not as good as the real ones, especially the post 2009 real questions.

Finally, I ignored my own typing problem. I was a slow typist in July. Before February I took a Mavis Beacon on line typing class for $20. I am sure I got an extra 300 words per essay because of it. Increase your typing speed by 10 words per minute and you will be able to knock out 300 extra words (about a page) if you spend half your time writing.


Part 2. Where I learned to improve.

The discussions on this board made the difference between July fail and February pass for me.
James11’s advice on page 2 of this thread.
2807’s advice on page 2 for MBE and page 3 for essays.
Generally the discussions between 2807, A Male Human, CourtneyElizabeth, me and a few others on pages 2 through 7 are what set me straight. What I present here is where I ended up after using 2807’s advice and adapting it to my own needs.
Fl0w and I discussed outlining for PTs and while I chose not to outline, I value the discussion. His way could well work for you so try both. We discussed it several times on different pages.

Part 3 What I did right for February.

I used Mavis Beacon ($20) to improve my typing. I used Bar Max ($100) app for MBE questions. I got one page outlines and bigger outlines from baressays.com. I also compared my answers to their graded answers ($120)

Each night I did 20 - 30 minutes on Mavis Beacon to improve my typing speed.

My studying consisted of doing 25 or more MBE questions from BarMax daily. Adaptibar also has good real MBE questions, I am told. When I was studying the big six topics I did a few more questions each day. Some people on this board (2807 I think) suggest doing short IRAC write-ups for the ones you got wrong. I just made handwritten notes on my outline that modified my rule or exception. By the end of February my outlines had a bunch of multicolored handwritten slop all over them but it didn’t have to be neat. The outlines don’t come inside the test room so as long as you learn as you go they function as a tool for writing mistakes down and reviewing them later.

In the morning, before writing essays I would go over the one page outlines I got from Baressays.com . Then I do the essays from the Cal Bar website. I do full one hour essays. Then I compare my answers to the model answers on the Cal Bar website or Baressays. I compare the good grades to the shitty ones. The 55s are disorganized. They wrote on issues that were really not important. They rambled. They were often very short. The 80s were long, sometimes too long as if the writer got two 55s and spent an extra hour on the 80. They were generally well organized. The writers focused on one issue at a time and avoided conflating. In the beginning it was important to look critically at good and bad essays. After a few weeks I stopped looking at the low scoring essays because I started to get the gist of what a bad essay was. The more I did, the more I compared myself to only the top essays.

How I write every essay, every time:
Each issue on the essay gets 4 paragraphs. Each paragraph corresponds to one IRAC subject.
To begin each essay I write "Issue # : Whether " (See2807's advice) Using a whether statement forces you to really focus your Issue. If your issue is simply “Homicide” or “Breach” you are in trouble. Write: Issue #1 is whether the shopkeeper had a duty to remove the black banana peel from the floor. Do not write: Duty.

Then on the next line I write "The law under.... is " (filling in MPC, Common Law, California Probate Code or whatever.) Then I write out the rule as best as I can remember it. I mostly learned the rules while writing essays instead of memorizing them before getting into the essays. I made mistakes here, rewrote them later correcting my mistakes on my outline and then sometimes re-wrote the four paragraph issue again. Just make mistakes and learn from them.

On the next paragraph I write "Here, .... because, " This is my analysis. Here, X element is met because of Y fact. I often quote Y directly from the fact pattern. If there is an inference I make the inference and let the grader know it is an inference not a quoted fact. Each element gets one sentence. Each element gets at least one fact and 90% of the time only one fact. Sometimes I write Here this element is NOT met because Y is not present. But the rhythm stays the same: name the element, write “because,” then write the fact. Nothing more needs to be written and anything more that you write is going to lead you into the sort of rambling gibber jabber that the professors in law school love to spend a whole class on when they are supposed to be teaching (and that there are no points for).

Then on the last paragraph "Therefore,… " My conclusion should closely match my issue. If it doesn’t match because I conclude breach when I am writing about duty or something I know I made a mistake.

I skip a line between each paragraph and a few lines after the last line. Then I copy and paste it 6 or 8 times. Doing this helps me stay focused on writing good IRAC. So the first paragraph is my issue statement, the next is the rule of law, the next is the elements (Here there was a breaking because D opened a closed window" then repeat for each element.) The last line is my conclusion.
I then make adjustments based on the call of the question. If it just says something simple like "Discuss" then I give a pure Issue spotting answer. If it gives a list of questions and sub questions, that serves as an outline for me - I rewrite the key words in bold. Sometimes there is a rule split between traditional law and modern law, common law and MPC, California law and other Federal law, or between cases like Perierra/ Van Camp. When this happens I write a longer rule paragraph. I discuss the rules then conclude which rule is appropriate and maybe how it would turn out the other way.
Sometimes the facts are murky – like when trying to figure out what mental state a murderer had. In that case you might want to speculate a little on the facts. But that will generally be one element out of the whole essay that calls for speculation. It should not be happening often.

Concerning straw man arguments, a rule of thumb is the more elements that are missing, the less time you spend on an issue. So if it is missing one element you should write about it in detail. If it is missing two then quickly dispense with it. If it is missing three then ignore it.

That is the rule for elements but in factor analyses, where there is a possibility that the argument could go either way, then make sure you clearly state which is the stronger argument and why then identify your counter argument with the word "Though x is the better argument, the counter argument is that Y is true. This is weaker because... Therefore, X." or something like that. You should only have to do this at most once in an essay. Most things are just not close enough to warrant doing counter arguments to every argument.

Finally, when I have five minutes left, I highlight, underline, italics or put in caps anything I forgot to make stand out as I went along.

I compare my answers to the model. For any issue I missed, I just read the outline on that and write another IRAC paragraph in my style.

I decided to start using the copy and paste method after re-doing the July 2013 PT about the charity fraud. Pretty much the only way to get that done in time was to copy and paste like mad. It is clear from the baressays website. Copy and Paste is what people who got 65s did and what people who got below 60 did not do. Using this method also makes my issues simpler. I can stick to one issue at a time instead of conflating two or three minor issues at a time. It is just faster because I think less while I am writing. My mind is focusing on one small thing instead of running around grabbing every idea that pops into my brain as I write. Hopefully, the grader will look at it and recognize the issues, see that it is organized, spot the words I made bold or underlined and give me a quick 65 or better.

PT

Do a lot of PTs. PTs are difficult to teach and take a long time to grade so the prep companies do not commit adequate time to them. My friends who took the July bar prep courses did not start doing PTs until three weeks before the exam. That is foolish. Do at least two a week all summer. They take a long time to do and to analyze two of them will take a full 8-10 hour day to do correctly. It is really slow and painful to improve in PTs - look back at our discussions on earlier pages - the bar finds the most creative ways to fuck us on these PTs. If you haven't done a dozen of these before the bar you will end up writing a load of disorganized shit for 2 and half hours before you figure out what the question is all about. I've put a fair amount of time into the PTs. I started by re-doing that first PT from summer 2013. The second time I did it I finished a few minutes late and my shit looked just as sloppy if not worse than the summer. So I did it again. The third time I was careful to be much more organized.

I devised this strategy for them and it seems to have worked.
1. I start off writing the IRAC outline I use for the essays. "Issue # :Whether... The rule under ___ law is ... Here, ..... Therefore," with spaces between lines and the Whether statement bolded.

2. Then I start reading and typing up my heading or coversheet depending on the assignment.
3. As I read I write paragraphs. Instead of headings or an outline, I write citations (See Transcript of Jane Doe) then I write the relevant facts.
4. Same with the Statutes. After three years of law school, I finally learned how to make that little Section symbol §§§§§§. It is good to know. My headline is: (See CEC § 601: Authentication of Public Records) - then I write the law.
5. Same with the cases. I write (See Jones v Smith CSC, 2001) then I write the relevant rules and if necessary the relevant facts. I make sure to do this for every case especially the cases cited within other cases. Also, if there is a footnote, I make sure that is included.

These 5 steps usually takes between 110 and 130 minutes but at this point most of the work is done.

6. I reread the instructions - the one from my hypothetical supervisor, not the standard one from the bar exam. I copy whatever is the call of the question IN ALL CAPS and basically turn this into my outline using the same number or letter scheme A,B,C or I,II,III or A1, A2, A3, B1 etc. A big difference between good scores and bad scores is that the high scoring essays answer the questions and the low scoring essays write stuff that is not asked. Making the question into an outline is just an easy way to keep yourself focused and I highly suspect that whatever outline the grader has to compare with your essay is probably outlined this way.
7. I cut and past my IRAC formula under the all caps headings/call of the questions. At least one issue per section, maybe two or three.
8. create the "Whether" statements on things that seem like important issues.
9. Cut the statutes or case law and paste them into the Rule part of my IRAC with the citation.
10. Cut the facts. Write the elements from my rule statement after the word "Here" in my IRAC formula, followed by the word "because," and paste the facts with proper citation after the word "because" in my IRAC outline.
11. Fill in the "Therefore," section with an answer to my "Whether" statement based on whether the elements are met or not.
12. End each call of the question (all caps) section with a bolded and underlined conclusion.


When I do this, exactly in this order, I finish with enough spare time to go through and underline, bold or italics words, to edit for spacing and to make it look professional. Having decent, but not bluebook quality, citations at my fingertips while I am pasting really adds a nice touch. The first page and last page are the ones I edit most heavily so that it looks like I started strong and finished strong because I am not sure they will read the middle part.
There is some advice from a UCLA professor that I respect. I summarized it on page 15. He tells how to overcome your particular PT weakness.

If I had to take this again I would just do essays, PTs and MBE questions. In retrospect, the time I spent reading and memorizing was mostly wasted. I learn by writing shitty essays then comparing my shit to a good essay and then doing it over. The outlines help a little but they work best after I've written a bad essay and I need to turn to the outline to see what I didn't understand. Fortunately, I figured this out in late December and didn't continue to try to memorize 30 page outlines all through January and February.

Memorizing Issues and / or Rules
Learning by mistake works for me but there is a place for memorizing - I'd have died on that PR essay had I not memorized the list of topics. But there is a special way to memorize that I doubt bar bri or Kaplan teaches. See: TEDTalks: Life Hack: "Joshua Foer: Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do" http://www.ted.com/talks/joshua_foer_fe ... one_can_do for a good demonstration of it. Basically, in order to memorize shit you need to use the part of your brain that has a mental map - you think of things in your house as you walk through the house to trigger the key words. So in order to memorize the PR topics I had this crazy story in my head that involved Judge Judy and the characters from Sesame Street and Pulp Fiction in my house. I actually printed pictures of those things and posted them around my home while I was studying. During the test when I realized I didn't know what was going on in the PR essay I closed my eyes and thought of walking through my home. All of the triggers to show me the topics were there and the list of issues just came back to me as I mentally looked around my home. Using pneumonic and acronyms and the stuff that BarBri teaches is fine but it should supplement the thing your brain is really good at remembering - how things are arranged in your home. Everyone should watch the 20 minute talk. It is really good and it only takes a little practice.

Enough details, Back to the big picture
Over the course of the summer work on bar prep the way the Pithypike thread taught us to work on the LSAT. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41657&hilit=pithypike First concentrate on Accuracy (getting the format correct, getting all the issues). If you do not start timing yourself until week 6 of a ten week plan that is OK. Then later on Speed (60 minutes or 3 hours). Lastly, in the last two weeks if at all, work on Endurance (work nonstop in 3 hour blocks).

You’ll find that being accurate makes you faster because your mind is focused. You are filling in the blanks rather than grasping at every thread of an issue that comes to your head all at once. Being faster also means you will have more endurance. If the last five minutes of your essays are spent making shit bold and making your headlines nice rather than maddeningly trying to type then you will not be spending 3 hours in a panic and it will be easier to endure.

This board has a lot of potential. When A male human and I and others posted our stuff here, the feedback was what helped me. You can totally give better feedback here than you can get from a barbri grader. Maybe as good as some tutors. And it is free. What's more - giving feedback is as helpful to you as getting feedback. SO it helps you to help others. The 0Ls give each other great feedback here on their stupid admissions essays. You can do the same with the bar essays.

Finally, eat right, stay healthy, get (at least) light exercise regularly, get laid, go to the movies. Try not to make everyone around you miserable.

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:34 pm

I would echo the sentiments of james11. Paraphrasing a bit: Hit as many relevant issues as you can, format it so that it's easy to read, and IRAC it properly (do not conclude ahead of time!).

I would echo the sentiments of MURPH, who is another legend of February 2014 along with 2804, to both of whom I owe my mental stability (relatively speaking). He discusses IRAC and doing PTs. Re IRAC, I personally didn't care for the "whether" statements; a short issue header worked for me. I really can't emphasize PTs enough. If you're consistently hitting 65+, fine. But even I, who was confident in PTs, was paralyzed when got hit with convoluted PTs in July 2013 and got 55s. Don't forget 5 points on the PT = 10 points on the essay. You need to MAKE SURE you can do the PTs properly; otherwise you are taking an unnecessary risk. I have zero pity for people who were warned about this yet come back to complain, "Oh... if I only got 5 more points on the PT..." I have written a guide for PTs because they are that important (find it on my site).

Most importantly: MEMORIZE + PRACTICE!!! Both mention Bar Essays. If you choose to use it, I would try to look at three types of answers: one that got a score below 65, one that got a score of 65 or more, one that has grader annotations (which has notes on what issues you missed, formatting, relevancy of what you're saying, general comments). I have a $20 off code; PM me or find it on my site.

I feel like more people have been giving back these days, which is fantastic to see. I think before, the cavalry would arrive too little, too late--certainly not in November.

PS. MURPH, mind posting your above post in the previous topic too? Might be some stragglers left: http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... start=2475

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:41 pm

Should you get a tutor?

In the previous topic, I mentioned posting a Q&A with repeaters who hired a tutor. Here are their thoughts.

---

A question that comes up sometimes is whether one should get a bar tutor. Since I have no experience with that, I had to find out how others have dealt with this issue.

On your behalf (because no one else did), I asked three people who took the bar the second time with a tutor and passed. There is a lot of great information here for those on the fence, so pay attention!

Since I usually talk too much, I’ll let L, D and E handle it from here.


Your Experience

1. Did you use a tutor your first time?

L: No, and I think I should have.

D: No, I used Barbri. I subscribed to Baressays for their essay service and their grading service. Would recommend the essay bank but not the grading service. Just know that what they said in my graded essays was exactly what I was told NOT to do by my tutor.

E: No. My first time I used a commercial prep course (Kaplan)

2. What was your decision-making process for each time you hired a tutor?

L: As a repeater, I knew that I could not do the same exact thing again if I wanted to pass. I asked around for advice and the most common advice offered was to find a tutor. The process of hiring / selecting a tutor was a much longer process.

D: There is so little out there about tutors. I wanted a referral but just could not get it until somebody at my firm recc’d a guy. I went with him and it paid substantial dividends. I wanted a ex-bar grader also. I thought that was very important.

E: First I needed a program that provided me what I felt was missing in my studies first time around. Second, when researching tutors always ask for sample materials. If they do not provide them, they are not being professional. This includes an example calendar of what your study schedule will look like. See if your tutor has published books. What is their work history?

3. When during the study process (for example, which month, level of “uh oh”) did you decide to get a tutor?

L: Two weeks after I found out my unfortunate results. I acknowledged the fact that changing my study habits and lifestyle was a long process, and I knew it would take much longer than the first time around.

D: Right after I failed the JUly Bar I knew I had to get a tutor. I had a biglaw job on the line for my second sitting and the cost of a tutor paled to the cost in finding a new job if I failed again.

E: I decided immediately upon being notified that I did not pass the July administration. So I was very proactive and I highly recommend being proactive in the retaking process. This is your outcome. You own it. I knew by mid-Nov that I was hiring a tutor for the Feb administration.

4. Can first timers benefit from tutors, or is it better for a repeater?

L: Yes. My particular tutor assisted all types of students with various weaknesses, and he was truly familiar with all the commercial bar preps around. First-timers can benefit because most commercial bar preps are a one size fits all approach. My tutor specifically tailored my schedule and changed the concentration of my subjects based on how well I did or didn’t do during the first month of prep. This is something you cannot get without a tutor.

D: Absolutely. Had I taken my tutor the first time I would have done way better and passed.

E: If I had known the tutor’s methodology and had not caved to the pressure of taking a commercial prep course like everyone else, I hands-down would have used a tutor the first time around. Not everyone learns the same way. And a tutor is an even more targeted and personalized approach to getting you where you need to be. And when the cost is the same or less than a commercial course it seems, to me, like you are really getting more for your money. Provided that you’ve selected a good tutor.

5. Overall, was it worth it to have a tutor?

L: Yes.

D: 150%

E: I passed the exam with my tutor’s help, so a resounding YES.

Tutor Benefits

6. What was the most important thing you got out of a tutor?

L: Someone to kick my ass, in a good way. Having a conversation over my correct and incorrect answers was very valuable to me. Although detailed answers are provided in most structured commercial MBE guides and essays, I think most students inevitably have more questions. I had an expert that gave me answers no matter how stupid, tangential, or hypothetically-relevant my question was.

D: Knowledge of what the bar examiners want. I wrote onto Law Review but my writing was subpar on the first exam. It didn’t make sense. Having a tutor clarified everything.

E: First was a roadmap on how to navigate essays and PTs. Systematically broken down in a way that I could apply to any essay or PT put in front of me. It really removed a lot of the stress. Second, a system for developing issue spotting so that nothing would be a surprise. Third, a great memorization technique. This is something I hate doing and having a system helped enormously.

7. What kind of services does a tutor typically provide? What’s the fee structure like?

L: My tutor was paid by the hour, billed by the tenth of any hour like any lawyer. He also offered a 30-day “pass” that offered more grading and advice with a cheaper rate if a student takes full advantage of the 30 days. I moved to the 30-day plan during my last 6 weeks of preparation.

D: MOst will give a flat fee ($3000) and some will give an hourly fee ($250/hour). Beware with the hourly because htye charge for EVERYTHING.

E: Essay help should be the majority. Most will default to commercial prep on the MBE study. Some break segments of their program into itemized pieces. It will depend on the tutor. A full program (the “total package”) could run upwards of $5,000.

8. What would you tell people who are on the fence about getting a tutor?

L: You can’t work as a lawyer until you pass the bar. Retaking the bar is far more expensive that hiring a tutor. Do your diligence and find a tutor that works for you and make an investment with your time and money.

D: If you have a job on the line, get one. NOt even a question.

E: Be proactive. Get information from them. Learn what they can do for you that you will not get from a commercial prep course. Some people are fine with commercial prep, but I don’t see anyone falling short of their best chances to succeed with the guidance of a good tutor. Nothing is ever a guarantee, of course, but if your tutor is high quality it will not hurt your chances solely because it is a tutor and not a commercial course.

9. How would you suggest people find a good tutor?

L: I would go in this order in researching good tutors: ask your law school > find other people that used tutors > cross reference those tutors with reviews on yelp or some other site > interview that tutor (this will be free).

Tutors work FOR you! Treat it like an interview and make sure to check their credentials.

D: It’s so hard. There are so many scams out there. Steve Zickman is a scam. Sherri Karney is a scam. THey demand $$$$$$ upfront. In fact, on my call with Sherri, she tried to get me to sign up for the Platinum package at $12,000. I did some research and found people who didn’t pass. Can you imagine dropping $12,000 and failing? Zickman I heard wasn’t as expensive but a pretty bad tutor. Stopped responding with two weeks left, no review of the exam. God, just thining about these two makes my stomach churn. So glad I didn’t go with either.

E: Ask law firms if they use any tutors for their incoming laterals. Google searching and Yelp reviews are fine, but find the people that the industry actually trusts and uses for their employees.

10. Any other suggestions or protips that didn’t fit with the above questions?

L: Getting a tutor isn’t for everyone, just like law school. If anyone is on the fence about it or is even considering it, then perhaps you are the person that actually needs a tutor. Any slight benefit on the bar can set you apart from not passing, to passing. When I was hesitant about hiring a tutor, a friend told me “Just do it, it’s a drop in the bucket,” and it really is. Now that I have finally passed I have my dream job and the cost of having that tutor did not phase me at all. This a bar and California is the hardest bar there is. There is absolutely no shame in asking pros for help!

D: Ya, I would recc either John Crossfield (~$3500) or if you are strpped for cash, Joe Buffington (Hourly, super accommodating and wont cheat you). Both are amazing. And for the record, I get nothing out of recommending these two. Only the satisfaction that I am sharing a resource that I found invaluable.

E: Not at the moment. Just to stick to what your tutor gives you religiously. Don’t question the method. Let it wash over you and consume you. Truly give in to it. Then emerge a lawyer.

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2807
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby 2807 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:37 pm

(I posted this in the CA July Bar thread too for folks looking for advice on repeating)
---------------------------
Well, I am not a salesman, but I am a satisfied customer.
This is who I went to for bar prep.
http://www.bestbarsuccess.com

He is awesome, but you will have to do a lot of work.
This is not for the weak.

92% pass rate for 1st timers in the top 3/4 of the class.

100% pass rate for repeaters who took a different bar review course than his.

Need I say more ?

Find the money. Take the course.
Have the best summer of your life.

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby LawJunky » Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:52 pm

MURPH wrote:
1. I start off writing the IRAC outline I use for the essays. "Issue # :Whether... The rule under ___ law is ... Here, ..... Therefore," with spaces between lines and the Whether statement bolded.

2. Then I start reading and typing up my heading or coversheet depending on the assignment.
3. As I read I write paragraphs. Instead of headings or an outline, I write citations (See Transcript of Jane Doe) then I write the relevant facts.
4. Same with the Statutes. After three years of law school, I finally learned how to make that little Section symbol §§§§§§. It is good to know. My headline is: (See CEC § 601: Authentication of Public Records) - then I write the law.
5. Same with the cases. I write (See Jones v Smith CSC, 2001) then I write the relevant rules and if necessary the relevant facts. I make sure to do this for every case especially the cases cited within other cases. Also, if there is a footnote, I make sure that is included.

These 5 steps usually takes between 110 and 130 minutes but at this point most of the work is done.

6. I reread the instructions - the one from my hypothetical supervisor, not the standard one from the bar exam. I copy whatever is the call of the question IN ALL CAPS and basically turn this into my outline using the same number or letter scheme A,B,C or I,II,III or A1, A2, A3, B1 etc. A big difference between good scores and bad scores is that the high scoring essays answer the questions and the low scoring essays write stuff that is not asked. Making the question into an outline is just an easy way to keep yourself focused and I highly suspect that whatever outline the grader has to compare with your essay is probably outlined this way.
7. I cut and past my IRAC formula under the all caps headings/call of the questions. At least one issue per section, maybe two or three.
8. create the "Whether" statements on things that seem like important issues.
9. Cut the statutes or case law and paste them into the Rule part of my IRAC with the citation.
10. Cut the facts. Write the elements from my rule statement after the word "Here" in my IRAC formula, followed by the word "because," and paste the facts with proper citation after the word "because" in my IRAC outline.
11. Fill in the "Therefore," section with an answer to my "Whether" statement based on whether the elements are met or not.
12. End each call of the question (all caps) section with a bolded and underlined conclusion.


This was a very good thing thread to read. Thank you. I need help on this topic badly. Are you saying that as you make your first reading pass, you are typing in facts from the file? Then, still in the first pass in the library, you are writing the law? So that at the end of the first read you have a ton of fact and law written down? This sounds pretty good as an approach. Then fit that stuff into iRACS within the call...

I would disagree as congenially as possible about the Barbri MBE questions that I used to prepare for the MBE (1710). I found the MCQ2 questions from 2013 to be an extraordinarily great source of super hard and realistic MBE questions. I did all the real ones released from the bar too, so I agree with you there.

Thank you for any more help you can provide on the PTs.

s1m4
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby s1m4 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:54 pm

Can someone recommend a CA tutor that I can submit some PTs to for feedback?

Thanks a bunch.




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